If you’re like us and watched any action movies during the late ‘90s and early 2000s, chances are you might feel a bit intimidated by the concept of artificial intelligence, or AI, as it is more commonly known. It once seemed so futuristic and unattainable, and now suddenly, it’s everywhere. Well, the future is here.
First things first: while it may seem like a recent development, AI didn’t just come out of nowhere. AI has been in the works for decades. The only difference is that now, it’s been adapted to be used on simple devices like our smartphones (and now on GOFA), and we see the influence it’s had on the fitness industry. The results are pretty impressive!
So, what exactly is AI? And how does it work?
To simplify it, AI is the simulation of human intelligence processes. So instead of our brains needing to perform basic tasks, we leave those tasks in the very capable hands of machines and computer systems. These systems function on various levels, some of the most commonly used ones being speech recognition, machine vision, and natural language processing.
At a very basic level, AI works by combining large amounts of data together with machine processing and intelligent algorithms. These processes then allow the software to learn automatically from the data’s different patterns and features.
Still confused? Don’t worry, just know that machines are great at processing and learning patterns, and they can make our lives much easier because of it.
How is the fitness industry using AI?
Now that we’ve got a better understanding of what AI is and how it works, let’s take a closer look at how it’s revolutionizing the fitness industry.
The first major way in which the fitness industry is using AI is through movement tracking and mirroring. Previously, we’d need to shell out a pretty penny for a personal trainer – something which often made wellness feel unattainable to the vast majority of people. Now that things have changed significantly, we’re starting to see AI programs take the place of trainers through fitness apps. With AI technology, apps can monitor movements and reps, helping users make sure that their form is correct as they progress through their workouts. It’s the perfect solution for those who can’t afford the high costs of gym memberships and trainers, as well as those who prefer to get in the zone and work out alone. Pretty cool, huh?
So many of us use wearable fitness gadgets like Apple, or Fitbit watches that measure how many steps we’ve taken in a day, how much effort we put into our workouts, or how many calories we’ve burnt. This is a form of data collection that can be used to power AI. Over time, feedback can be adjusted to help improve your performance so that you’re able to reach your goals within a realistic timeframe. The more your device tracks you, or in essence, gets to know you a little bit better, the more accurately it will be able to predict or learn about how your body will respond to certain challenges or how quickly you’ll be able to get back on your feet after an especially tough session.
Next up, we’ll focus on machine learning. This is the kind of AI technology that uses algorithms to establish patterns in data. After all, at its most basic level, AI is simply an advanced algorithm. By learning these patterns, AI programs are then able to understand more about what users want. In the fitness industry, this works particularly well as it allows for truly personalized workout recommendations, giving the Average Joe access to a new set of workouts that he would otherwise never have found before.
But how does AI help you?
So we know that fitness apps make wellness journeys more affordable thanks to AI, but how else is AI really beneficial for you?
Wayne Chung, CEO of GOFA Fitness, says that “Real-time feedback from GOFA’s AI technology allows for a safer, more effective experience.” He added that AI-based technology not only ensures correct form and injury prevention, it also gives you valuable insights into different kinds of workouts, which ones are best for you, and which ones you’re missing out on.
To start, AI is here to help keep our workouts safer. Whether you’re working out at the gym or at home, the knowledge generated from AI-based technology not only ensures correct form and injury prevention, it also gives you valuable insights into your body and how well it’s recovering. From this, you’ll know more about when to rest, when to up the intensity of your workouts, and when you’ve been pushing just a little bit too hard.
AI also gives you the opportunity to learn from your particular patterns. The more you work out, the more insight you give programs to keep a record of your efforts, monitor your performance, and make projections and suggestions about what your next workout should be, and what level of intensity you should be working at.
Another huge benefit that AI brings to the fitness industry for users is a sense of community. By signing up for a fitness app and using it to work through the kinds of exercises you love, you open yourself up to connecting with a community of like-minded people in your area and beyond. This is a great way to stay motivated and accountable.
What does this all mean for the future of fitness?
In 2017, long before the words COVID-19 or coronavirus could be heard across the world, ReportLinker’s market research estimated that the digital fitness industry would grow by at least 33% by 2022 bringing its total value to US$27.4 billion. When the pandemic hit, it was almost as though someone pushed the fast-forward button on that estimation, as most workouts were moved into the digital space as gyms and studios were forced to shut down.
While the gyms have since reopened, the digital fitness industry continues to thrive. Experts are certain that at-home workouts and fitness apps powered by AI technology will bring about the kind of individualization that will make our wellness journeys better and smarter, all from the comfort of our homes.